Have we lost sight of the extraordinary blessings attached to the Lord’s commandment to labor in his vineyard without purse or scrip? Have we considered the fruits of those who acted entirely on faith and put this principle to the test? “It is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power; For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats” (Doctrine & Covenants 84:77–78). Will the time come when we shall again go out without purse or scrip?
Becoming “friends” of Christ inherently possesses these divine conditions and promises: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise lose his reward. And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples” (Doctrine & Covenants 84:88–91).
The early apostles practiced this principle and were empowered of God to convert thousands of souls and perform miracles in the name of Jesus. So did many brethren at the time of the gospel’s restoration. Book of Mormon priests were commanded that they “were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God” (Mosiah 18:26). Indeed, it constituted a principle of divine empowerment.
Says Paul: “When I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself” (2 Corinthians 11:9). Says Alma, “Notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren” (Alma 30:33). How else could these rise to spiritual heights if their faith hadn’t been so tested?
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:9–12).
The sons of Mosiah were endowed with like power from God: “I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?” (Alma 26:11–13).
Even though Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and other servants of God “suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions” (Alma 8:19–26; 20:29), they passed God’s test of their faith and paid the price of their amazing success. “Labor ye in my vineyard. Call upon the inhabitants of the earth, and bear record, and prepare the way for the commandments and revelations which are to come. Now, behold this is wisdom; whoso readeth, let him understand and receive also; For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power” (Doctrine & Covenants 71:4–6).